Improve-your-Back | Spring Chicken

Exercises to strengthen your back

Back strengthening exercises are vital in stabilising your lower back. Try these five exercises for increased back health, 3 to 5 times a week.

Sit Backs

This exercise is a little difficult to do in bed if you have a soft mattress. But if you are not able to get onto the floor to perform your exercises, it is fine to stay in bed for these.

This is a good exercise to incorporate a good breathing pattern into. Breathe in through the nose to start, then exhale as you sit back. Pause, then breathe in as you return to the upright position. This back strengthening exercise will firm your abdominal muscles. It will help your ability to get out of bed or up from a chair.

How to do it

  • Sit with your knees bent and arms crossed over your chest.
  • Slowly sit back as far as comfortable.
  • Return to the start position and repeat 10 times.
  • Exhale during the backward movement phase.
  • Inhale during the forward movement phase.
Eccentric Straight Leg Raise

Back muscle pain exercises like eccentric straight leg raises will stabilise and strengthen your low back. When you can do 10 without a lot of effort, you may increase up to 20 times on each leg.

The important thing to remember when performing any leg exercises lying down is to make sure you press your back into the ground and hold your pelvis as still as possible during the movement. In this way the exercise is more of a pelvic stabilisation exercise than a leg exercise. Keep your breathing relaxed and rhythmic, breathing all the way down to your belly. This exercise works your abdominal and hip flexor muscles.

This will improve your ability to get out of bed, get out of a chair and maintain your posture.

How to do it

  • Lie on your back and tighten up your abdominal muscles.
  • Bring your right knee up toward your chest.
  • Keep your left leg on the floor.
  • Straighten your right leg and slowly lower to the floor.
  • Repeat 10 times with both legs.
  • Keep breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth.
  • Keep your pelvis as motionless as possible.
  • Make sure your spine is in a neutral position.
Bent knee raise

Don’t perform this exercise too fast or your momentum will cause you to begin to arch your back. Raise and lower your legs one at a time for greater control of your spine. This back pain help exercise works your abdominal and hip flexor muscles, which will improve your ability to get out of bed, rise up from a chair and maintain your standing posture.

How to do it

  • Lie down on your back with knees bent.
  • Tighten up your abdominal muscles.
  • Think of your belly button pressing into your spine.
  • Lift your knees one at a time toward your chest.
  • Hold for 5 seconds.
  • Return both  legs to the floor.
  • Repeat 10 times.
  • Exhale during the upward movement phase.
  • Inhale during the downward movement phase.
  • Keep breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth.
  • Make sure you don’t over-bend your knee joint.
  • Place your palms on the floor for support.
Cat and Camel

To stretch and extend the lower back and mid back muscles.

It is also a great exercise for loosening up the pelvic area and learning the pelvic tilt.

How to do it

  • Begin by getting on your hands and knees on your bed or the floor only if you can safely get back up.
  • Keep your back in a neutral position.
  • Round your back up and bring your head down to make the cat arching his back.
  • Then reverse by allowing your back to relax forming the valley between the camels two humps.
  • Return to starting position and repeat 10 times.
  • Exhale during the upward movement phase.
  • Inhale during the downward movement phase.
  • Keep breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth.
  • Tighten your stomach muscles and place your pelvis in a neutral position to start.
  • If your wrists are painful, lower yourself onto your elbows.
  • Use gardening pads if kneeling on the floor.
Back Extension

As we age our spine and head will begin to curve forward with the affect of gravity and poor posture. This will bring on such problems as pain in the mid-back or spine. To reduce the risk of these problems associated with poor posture, it is important to perform a movement in the opposite direction as your curvature. This is called spinal extension. Relax on your bed or floor for this exercise.

To stretch and extend the lower back and mid back muscles. It can also help with mid back pain associated with postural strain.

This will make it easier to maintain good posture with sitting and standing.

How to do it

  • Begin by lying face down on your bed or the floor with your hands palm down by your face.
  • Begin to bring your head up and slowly arch your back.
  • Push up to your elbows.
  • Return to starting position and repeat 10 times.
  • Exhale during the upward movement phase.
  • Inhale during the downward movement phase.
  • Keep breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth.
  • Maintain your hips on the floor.

For more information about back strengthening exercises visit Elder Gym

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